Yes, it’s the weekend, again, and time to review the new movies and television shows added online, to Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. So let’s get right to it!
Hulu has some good addition this week, including Experimenter, the 2015 drama starring Peter Sarsgaard. This is based on the true life incidents of 1961, when social psychologist of Yale, Stanley Milgram(Sarsgaard) conducted some experiments, using student volunteers, on authority figures and the aftermath of the experiments, including the publicity. This movie has a wonderful cast, with Wynona Ryder, Edoardo Ballerini, Jim Gaffigan, Anthony Edwards, Lori Singer, Anton Yelchin and Dennis Haysbert. It premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and gets an 86% on Rotten Tomatoes. Hulu has also added Pen15, a Hulu original comedy series. This one considers the first days of middle school, by two thirteen year old outcasts, played by Maya Erskine and Annie Konkle, who were executive producers and creators of the show. it takes place in the year 2000, and also stars Mutsuko Erskine, Dylan Gage, Taj Cross, Taylor Nichols and Sami Rappaport. There’s a lot of juvenile humor here, but also some true insight into being 13, and on the outer edge of the social sphere. There may be a problem buying thirty-something women playing kids, but it’s funny and gets a 6.8/10 on IMDb. Also, new to Hulu is Dog Days, the 2018 comedy from director Ken Marino. And, there isn’t a lot of plot here, just following beautiful people with their dogs, including Eva Longoria, Nina Dobrev, Vanessa Hudgens, Lauren Lapkus and Thomas Lennon. I wouldn’t recommend it, but it gets a 61% on Rotten Tomatoes, and if you want some romance thrown in with your cute dogs, this may be your ticket. Otherwise, I’d recommend The Puppy Bowl, the 2019 version from Animal Planet. You get tons of puppies here, all in need of a home, with kittens in the half time, and sloths, parrots, hedgehogs and other darling animals, with few humans forced on you at all. And it averages in the upper eights on IMDb. If you missed it last Sunday, enjoy, and if you did see it, you can easily watch it again, if you enjoy baby animals at all. And, finally, Hulu has added A Life in Waves, a 2017 documentary about Suzanne Ciani, an electronic music composer and pioneer. If you have never heard of Ciani, neither had I, but she’s composed 15 albums and the music for multiple hit movies, including The Stepford Wives. She went to Wellesley and Berkeley, where as a graduate student, she was not encouraged to pursue her career in electronic music. Co-Directors Brett Whitcomb and Bradford Thomason have done an excellent job of bringing us another story of a woman, discouraged from seeking a career in a male-dominated field who overcame sexism and prejudice to achieve virtuosity and awards, including five Grammy nominations. And this movie gets a 7.1/10 on IMDb.
The biggest addition on Netflix this week has to be High Flying Bird, Steven Soderbergh‘s 2019 sports drama. This stars Andre Holland(Moonlight), who along with his talented rookie client, played by Melvin Gregg, is broke and in dire straits, during an NBA lockout. So he comes up with a plan, and puts it into action. I don’t want to give anything else away, but this movie is exciting, has amazing shots(done on an iphone, no less) and a wonderful cast, including Zazie Beetz, Zachary Quinto, Kyle McLaughlin and Sonja Sohn. It addresses the issues of big money, power and race, in professional sports and though it’s too soon for it to have a Rotten Tomatoes rating, the New York Times calls it “a thrilling dunk on capitalism,” the L.A. Times calls it “dazzling” and IMDb gives it a 6.5/10. I’m definitely watching. Netflix has also added Lez Bomb, a 2018 comedy from Bobby Farrelly(Something About Mary). In it, Jenna Laurenzo stars(she also writes and directs this film) as a woman returning home for Thanksgiving, to drop the bomb, so to speak, to her extended family about her being gay. Lez Bomb has an outstanding ensemble cast, including Kevin Pollak, Cloris Leachman, Bruce Dern,Caitlin Mehner, Deidre O’Connor, Elaine Hendrix and Steve Guttenberg, and while it’s not perfect, it has outrageous humor,a great point and hilarious writing. And, it gets an 88% on Rotten Tomatoes. And, because you need horror, Netflix has Don’t Knock Twice, a British 2018 movie. It’s about a British mom and a recovering drug addict, who must save her daughter from a witch, brought forth by knocking, as in an urban legend. The cast includes Katie Sackoff, Lucy Boynton, Javier Botet, Nick Moran, Pooneh Hajimohammadi and Ania Marson, and is directed by Caradog W. James. It some negative reviews(it only gets a 28% on Rotten Tomatoes) but it’s the only Horror show added on Netflix this week, and besides, it gets a 5.1/10 on IMDb! And, finally, Netflix has added Kevin Hart’s Guide to Black History, a comedic(of course) movie about great subjects of black history in America. This is a positive and humorous look at wonderful black heroes in the U.S., including Harriet Tubman, Mae Jemison,Josephine Baker and many others you probably haven’t heard of, conveyed by Hart telling stories to his daughter It stars Hart, Saniyya Sydney, Lil Rei Howery, Tiiffany Hadish(!), Al Shearer and Nika Williams ad it’s directed by Tom Stern. And, though it’s a good choice for children for Black History Month and it gets a 4.7/10 on IMDb.
Okay, Amazon hasn’t added a lot to it’s lineup in the past week, but they have added one good movie, Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot, directed by Gus Van Sant. In this movie, Joaquin Phoenix plays John Callahan, a man famous here in Portland, as he tries to get off the alcohol and into cartooning. He’s also confined to a wheelchair, which doesn’t help. It also stars Jonah Hill, Rooney Mara, Jack Black, Carrie Brownstein and Udo Keir. Peter DeBruge of Variety called it ” a life affirming sweet- and- sour concoction” and Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 76% and a 6.9/10 on IMDb. Also, new on Amazon is Apostasy, a 2018 British drama. This movie tells the tale of a deeply devout family, members of Jehovah’s Witness Church, and the disharmony that erupts when a daughter questions church advise, and goes to college, and makes further choices that bring”disfellowship” for the family. It is directed by Daniel Kokotajlo, who is an ex-member of the church, and he was nominated for a BAFTA for his direction of this film. It stars Siobhan Finneran,
Robert Emms,Sacha Parkinson, Steve Evets,
Jessica Baglow and Molly Wright. It’s such an important movie to see and it gets a stunning 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. And, finally, Amazon has added A Brilliant Young Mind, a 2015 British drama. About a teenage math prodigy, in school, who makes friends with a teacher and gains new confidence, after making a National Math team. It stars Asa Butter Field, Sally Hawkins(!), Eddie Marsan, Rafe Spall and Jo Yang. It’s a wonderfully sweet movie, and it gets an 86% on Rotten Tomatoes. I’m watching.
So if it’s cold and snowy outside, hibernate indoors with tons of good movies and television series, online, on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime.